Tuesday, 28 March 2017

someplace-else or boomerang toomerang soomerang

Once believed lost to history, someone or some cosmic force uploaded episodes of the so called “conflict series” of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood that aired in November 1983 as Cold War tensions were at their height and nuclear war looked like an eminent consequence.
The Public Broadcasting System asked Mister Rogers to present an allegory that young children might better understand the factors driving escalation—without scaring the wits out of them and countering a commercial broadcast of the ominously titled The Day After (I vaguely remember watching all these shows), by having King Friday XIII and Queen Sara Saturday and Prince Tuesday grow increasingly paranoid.  The royal family worried that the Neighborhood of Make-Believe was under threat by another kingdom (Some- place-Else, I think, where Donkey Hodie lives and his majesty the prince attended boarding school) who seemed to be undergoing a major shift in industrial activity and thus raids the treasury to build up the Neighborhood’s defences (formerly, they were a rocking chair-based economy)—eventually bankrupting Lady Elaine Fairchilde, Daniel Striped Tiger, Henrietta Pussycat and the rest in addition to paralysing them with fear. Eventually the king realises the error of his ways and discovers that the rival kingdom was putting forth so much effort investing in infrastructure—building bridges rather than bombs.


montage: a supercut of the loveliest black and white shots in film history, via Nag on the Lake

jovian van gogh: new high resolution images of Jupiter are mesmerizing

tinman: little girl greets a discarded water-heater that she imagines to be a robot

quick to the finish: scientists are learning how to grow heart tissue from spinach leaves

inked: abstract, cubist style tattoos from Londoner Mike Boyd

the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions: outings and league participation for CIA employees had complex cover-stories and were ranked by the level of suspicion that they might attract

Monday, 27 March 2017

grußwort, ghaH ’ej Duvan mu’

Though Verboten during its first years of airing due to German regulation prohibiting television directed at audiences under the age of six years, Die Sendung mit der Maus (the Show with the Mouse) brought about a change to the law and has been educating young people and receiving critical acclaim as the nation’s classroom since the early 1970s.
The creators recognised how well children responded to commercials and advertising mascots and decided to try to harness that commodity of attentiveness and put it to good use, featuring short instructional programming illustrating how things work, interspersed with cartoons. Each episode has a standard magazine format and from the onset had a message of inclusion, introducing each segment once in German and then in a foreign language—first in Turkish, Italian and Spanish to acknowledge the children of foreign guest-workers. That tradition continues with the language changing weekly and has expanded significantly to reflect refugee families and most recently Klingon.

grains of paradise

TYWKIWDBI treats us to a tour of the grounds of the distillery for the Bombay Sapphire brand of gin.
While the label or recipe itself is not a storied and veteran one as in popular imagination, having only been around since 1987, the facilities where it’s produced is historic and has been historically innovative, a paper milling operation having shared the site and harnessing the power of the River Test, continuing to this day with these hot-houses designed by Thomas Heatherwick (previously, here and here) that capture heat from the distilling process and uses it grow the mostly tropical botanicals used to infuse and flavour the gin. The ten ingredients (juniper berries, liquorice, almond, lemon zest, orris root, grains of paradise, coriander, cubeb, cassia and angelica) are said to be symbolic of the farthest reaches of the British Empire at its height under Queen Victoria.

blood sugar sex magick

Though occultist Aleister Crowley first suggested that the ability to speak backwards might be a useful skill to hone back in 1913, it was not really until the 1980s that the moral panic of subliminal Satanic instruction really took hold—and if some accounts are to be believed, solely at the behest of the future Second Lady of the United States, after witnessing in horror her young daughter innocently repeat some rather explicit song lyrics.
Backmasking as the technique is known and as presented by the Daily Grail, palindromically since one spells the title the same forwards and backwards though not itself some encoded diabolical commandment, seems nowadays perfectly simple to debunk and explain away as an acoustic example of pareidolia (quite a few to be found at the Daily Grail), though I suppose that once something’s heard, it cannot be unheard. The highest profile cases dragged on through the courts as suggestions below the threshold of conscious perception were adjudicated not to be protected as free speech, especially when those orders are masked by a form of expression that ostensibly is protected.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

state of the art

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the US Treasury Secretary (but more shocking considering his former career as a fantasy, science fiction film executive producer) dismissed the swiftly approaching threat (or opportunity) of mass technological redundancy, saying there won’t be any robots taking jobs away from people for at least a generation or more.
Apparently this worry is trumped up by the dishonest press ought to be diffused so that the public can focus on the real threat: illegal immigrants. There is some solace in this the regime’s ignorance, however, as it becomes apparent to the rest of the world that America is losing edge and will not carry the revolution and perhaps counter it in destructive ways. And while the luddite ideal might embrace not having to bother with paying its workers or fair labour standards, their lack of vision does not change the fact that professionals are already being displaced subtly in the legal and banking trades and massively in the shipping industry. The natural consequence of such disruption is that money as a store of wealth changes not only by degrees but also in kind—furnishing ultimately leisure and a universal basic income, something I’m sure that the wealthy cadre of Dear Leader won’t like since all their bullying advantage would sublimate instantly, for all instead of lasting chaos and insecurity. Let’s hope the small-minded and tyrannical just stay out of the way of progress.